Just in time for summer, quick first aid tips for your sunburned eyes to prevent sun damage to your vision

Summer has arrived, and with it comes regular reminders to use sunscreen. But people who want to have fun in the sun this summer also need to safeguard their eyes from exposure to UV light, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), who have designated July as UV Awareness Month.

According to the World Health Organization, long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun is not only harmful to the skin, but is equally damaging to the eyes and could lead to permanent damage. Without adequate eye protection, your chance of developing eye disorders such as blurred vision, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and photokeratitis will increase as the damaging effects of UV exposure are cumulative. In fact, exposure to the sun’s UVB rays appears to be a major risk factor for the development of cataracts.

We’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to help you maintain good eye health by providing you with the following tips to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Keep your hat on (to protect skin and eyes from exposure to UV Rays)

A wide-brimmed hat with a minimum 3″ wide brim has been demonstrated to greatly reduce sun exposure. Hats shield your skin and eyes from the sun and provide a long-lasting sun barrier, unlike sunscreen, which must be reapplied every two hours. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends hats made of dark-colored, tightly woven fabrics like canvas, denim, wool, or synthetic fibers for absorbing UV rays. If you can see light through the fabric when you hold it up to the light, it does not provide adequate safety. Look for hats that have UV protection built in, with a minimum UV Protective Factor (UPF) of 30.

Go get yourself some cheap sunglasses (with 100 percent UV protection)

When shopping for sun glasses, look for ones labeled “UV400” or “100% level of protection against UVA and UVB radiation.” Less expensive sunglasses that have these ratings can be just as effective, just avoid products that don’t match these standards. It is important to know that UV protection levels are not dependent on lens color or shade so don’t just grab a pair with the darkest lenses and think you are covered. UV-blocking contact lenses can provide some defense from the sun’s rays, but they can’t completely shield the eye. Also, be aware that even on overcast days, UV radiation can penetrate clouds so you should wear sunglasses whenever you venture outside to safeguard your eyes from UV Damage and possible loss of vision.

Don’t look up at the sun (even with your eyes closed)

Although most people are aware of the harmful effects of staring directly at the sun, beach goers frequently ignore this advice and remove their sunglasses when laying down to soak in the rays, believing that closing their eyes will protect them from the sun. Although your eyelids do hide your eyes from direct sunlight, they can only offer limited defense and not surprisingly, eyelids are frequently the first place affected by cancer. Small amounts of ultraviolet light passing through your eyelids can cause visual degradation over time, resulting in cataracts, vision loss, corneal burns, or cancer.

Check for photosensitivity (and use caution if you are)

Photosensitivity is a type of immune system reaction brought on by exposure to sunlight. As per the AAOs sun safety survey, one out of every three adults take medication that could make their eyes more prone to UV light damage. Antibiotics, birth control, estrogen tablets, and psoriasis therapies containing psoralen are examples. Examine your medication labels to determine if they may cause photosensitivity, and if this is the case, make every effort to protect your skin and eyes from the sun due to increased risk of sun damage . Furthermore, while everyone is susceptible to harm from UV rays, individuals with light skin or blue or green eyes have less protective melanin and should take precautions to avoid the midday sun, to wear additional protection like protective clothing and broad spectrum sunscreen for their skin, and to don proper eye protection.

On the road again (wear eye protection in your vehicle)

Make it a habit to put on UV-protective sunglasses before buckling up. Most people incorrectly assume that car windows shield you from UV rays. However, a recent study shows that only 14% of all side windows provide adequate UV protection. In addition, If you drive frequently in bright sunlight and are subject to chronic exposure, it is recommended that you wear wraparound sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun’s harmful rays sneaking in from the sides. Choose a frame that surrounds your eyes and fits closely to the shape of your face to guard against glare to prevent cumulative UV damage to your eyes.

We hope you find these tips useful and make it a priority to protect your eyes.

Improving your vision is our vision. Clinical research has shown that the specific amino acids, antioxidants, and vitamins  in our Can-C Eyedrops, Nac-C Plus Capsules and ARMeD Advanced Retinal Support Tablets can protect against and even heal common eye conditions. Wise Choice Medicine’s ocular support product line is designed to boost and improve eye health by supporting the eyes’ natural ability to recover from stress factors such as UV damage.